Spouses with different drinking habits are more likely to divorce

Marriage can be challenging under the best of circumstances. A recent study out of Norway reports that spouses with different alcohol habits face an increased risk of divorce, adding to the challenge.

Divorce risk triples when one spouse drinks more than the other

According to an article published by the National Institutes of Health, Norwegian researchers found that the chance of divorce increases when one spouse consumes alcohol more than the other. The researchers studied data related to alcohol consumption and mental distress from approximately 20,000 married couples between 1984 and 1986. From this data, the researchers analyzed the chances for divorce within the next 15 years.

One of the study's authors, a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public health, notes that the quantity of alcohol consumption is not to blame for the increased risk. Instead, the cause appears to be inconsistency between drinking habits. For instance, marriages where both spouses are either heavy or light drinkers are less likely to end in divorce than marriages involving one spouse drinking more than the other.

Interestingly, the study also found that divorced individuals consume more alcohol than married individuals. The reason for this could simply be that divorced individuals tend to drink more, but also that individuals who drink more are more likely to eventually be divorced.

The director of the institute's mental health division noted that heavy drinking appears to be more acceptable in married men than in married women. She speculates that there may be a stigma associated with alcohol consumption in females, who are traditionally considered the family caretakers.

Grounds for divorce in Georgia

The results of the study demonstrate the importance of learning about a potential spouse's drinking habits before deciding to marry. However, it is common for issues such as alcohol consumption to result in a decision to divorce. In that case, it is important to be aware of basic information about divorce in Georgia.

There are 13 grounds for divorce in Georgia. One of these grounds is no-fault, which means neither spouse has to show a specific reason for the divorce, but must only show that the marriage is "irretrievably broken."

The other 12 grounds are fault-related and include things such as:

  • Mental or physical abuse
  • Adultery
  • Fraud

Mental incapacity, drug addiction or habitual intoxication are examples of other possible fault-related grounds for a divorce. If a spouse wishes to initiate a divorce based on one of the fault grounds, he or she must prove the other spouse engaged in the specific form of wrongdoing alleged.

If both spouses agree to the divorce, the divorce is uncontested. In uncontested cases, the entire divorce process can be completed quickly, especially when there are no property or child custody issues in dispute.

However, if the spouses disagree on any topics such as alimony, property division or child support, a court must help decide these issues. The couple is required to wait for a court hearing, which can increase the length of the divorce process.

Since spouses usually want these issues solved as quickly as possible, a temporary hearing may be granted to discuss time-sensitive issues. At a temporary hearing, a judge makes short-term decisions on any important issues. Permanent decisions are fully resolved at a final trial.

Because divorce laws are complex and the process can be challenging, married couples considering divorce should consult an experienced family law attorney. The attorney can thoroughly explain all legal options and provide valuable guidance.